India's largest Islamic school has issued a fatwa banning Muslims from chanting Bharat Mata Ki Jai, which roughly translates into 'Long Live India.'
The Darul Uloom Deoband, the most prominent Islamic seminary in the country, said chanting of the slogan is against the tenets of Islam.
The fatwa says the slogan is against "tauheed" (the idea of worshipping one God)), or the "oneness of Allah".
The religious scholars have said there is no doubt that Muslims in India love their country but insist that they should refrain from slogans referring to "worshiping" the country.
"We cannot worship the country. Muslims cannot worship anyone other than (God). In that slogan, Bharat has been called equivalent to a goddess," the fatwa says.
There were reports earlier in the week from capital city New Delhi that three students at an Islamic school (madrasa) were beaten up after they refused to chant the slogan.
The same seminary had banned Muslims from chanting patriotic song 'Vande Mataram' in 2009, saying some verses in the poem went against the Islamic religious principles.
"After the 'Vande Mataram' controversy, now people are being forced to chant 'Bharat Mata ki jai'. Actually, some of the believers in Hindu faith consider India a goddess whom they worship. They treat the goddess 'Bharat Mata' the patron god and caretaker of the country. This belief certainly goes against the very idea of 'tauheed' which forms the core of belief in Islam. The followers of Islam can not compromise with the idea of 'tauheed," the fatwa said.
A Muslim legislator in the western state of Maharashtra was suspended recently from the house after he refused to chant the slogan.
Worship of the nation
"I love my country. I was born here and I will die here. I can never dream of insulting my country. Don't judge anyone's love for the country by just one slogan. Jai Hind, Jai Bharat, Jai Maharashtra," Waris Pathan told the media after he was suspended as an MLA.
Pathan says he has no problem in saying 'long live India', but the particular slogan apparently infers the worship of the nation, which he says is against his religious principles.
The Darul Uloom Deoband says the right to religious freedom offered by India's constitution is paramount.
"The Constitution of India allows its every citizen the freedom to profess and practice his/her religion. Nobody has the right to go against the Constitution and take law in their own hands by forcing somebody to do some thing which goes against the idea of the Constitution of India," the fatwa says.